Therapeutic Wilderness Program

Individualized Approaches For Every Student

A Wilderness Therapy Program That Focuses On Each Student’s Journey

While the wilderness provides an excellent setting for our therapeutic program, we wouldn’t be able to achieve lasting, positive outcomes and address the unique developmental and psychological needs of each student without deep expertise in clinical theory and evidence-based practices.

Our team of licensed, certified, and experienced mental health professionals work closely with each student to address their individual needs, help them set and track positive goals, and move forward on their journey.

90% of students showed improvement in Extremely Significant Symptoms of anxiety and depression 12 months after graduation

Our Clinical Foundation Focuses On:


Self - Awareness

We provide the ideal environment and prompting for students and families to better understand themselves and the way in which they interact with others.


Emotional Regulation

We teach our students the skills needed for managing their emotions, maintaining energy, and soothing stress without lashing out.



We help students develop relational intelligence, social skills, and a concrete understanding that we are all members of interdependent communities.



We guide students through transitions while they are enrolled, so they can maintain positive behavior and sustain success when they return home.

Comprehensive Assessments For Individual Treatment Plans

Upon arrival, each student is assigned a Primary Therapist who immediately conducts a thorough clinical assessment. Assessments and progress reports will continue throughout your child’s stay, and every member of the Trails Teams—Therapeutic, Wilderness, Academic and Residential—is involved in this process to improve our understanding of your child, their progress, and any remaining challenges.

This is why it is so important to alternate between wilderness and residential settings and mix interactions with different members of the team – to improve and test coping skills and practice new behaviors in a variety of situations. Your child and the entire family will continue weekly treatment with your individual Primary Therapist and Family Therapist while the entire Trails team continues to assess progress.

This continued focus on your child’s specific behaviors and circumstances allows us to individualize treatment in order to maximize gains and long-term success.

"Trails changed our daughter’s life. We didn’t know how to help her, but they did and they knew how to help us too. The learning experiences and support she had coupled with the connection and tools we learned was really effective."

The Benefits Of Individualized Treatment Plans

The advantages of having an individualized treatment plan for adolescents in a residential setting cannot be overstated. Teens benefit from having professional guidance tailored to their unique circumstances; this helps them learn how to respond constructively to life’s challenges while developing positive coping strategies they can use long after they leave residential care. 

Individualized treatment plans also ensure that teens receive the highest quality of care by providing a personalized focus on their physical and mental health needs and building meaningful relationships with staff members committed to helping them reach their full potential. Ultimately, these benefits have been proven to help teens make lasting improvements in many aspects of their lives – both during their time at a residential facility and after they return home.

At Trails Carolina, our team works with every student to create an individualized treatment plan. Each plan is thoughtfully developed based on input from the student, the student’s parents, and the student’s primary Trails therapist. 


The development of each plan begins when you start the Trails Admissions Process. Then, when your child arrives on campus, they will meet with their primary therapist for an initial consultation and assessment which will further help us determine a strategy to deliver proper treatment for the greatest success.


The Individualized Treatment Plan Process Involves:

  • Initial assessments for a better understanding of your child’s mindset upon arrival
  • Weekly individual therapy with your child’s Primary Therapist to evolve the personalized treatment plan
  • Development and review of your child’s personal therapeutic plan with input from the entire Trails team of experts

In order to create an effective individualized treatment plan for each adolescent and teen enrolled in our wilderness therapy program, we take several factors into consideration.

This includes assessing the teen's physical health, social history, family dynamics, current mental health status, and past experiences of trauma, abuse, and self harm. This process can also involve evaluating the teen's understanding of any diagnoses they may have and current progress towards goals.

Based on this information, our team of therapists and other mental health professionals, along with input from the child and their parents, can create an evidence-based plan that is designed to meet the specific needs of each teen. 

An Individualized Treatment Plan In Action:

Based on the student’s treatment plan, field assignments and activities can be personalized to meet and support their individual needs and goals.

For example, students may be engaging in a group journaling activity. Even two students dealing with anxiety can receive different journal prompts based on the nuances of their challenges. The student dealing with social anxiety will get to focus on a topic related to that challenge, while the student dealing with panic attacks will get to focus on a prompt related to that challenge.

The same type of personalization is applied to students who struggle with defiance, depression, video game addiction, etc. 

therapeutic wilderness program

We Are A Residential Treatment Center Offering Wilderness Therapy Programs For Adolescents & Teens

At Trails Carolina, we offer a results-driven, trauma-informed therapeutic program that is based on decades of experience and scientific research. Our nature therapy program balances the benefits of wilderness adventure therapy with the practical experience of traditional residential treatment programs. Our students, who are segmented into peer groups based on age and gender, spend time transitioning between a wilderness setting and our residential base camp to practice skills in various settings and with different staff.

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These transitions are beneficial because your child may demonstrate success within certain environments or with certain individuals, but struggle to transfer those skills to other settings. For instance, while your child may excel during their time in the wilderness they may struggle in the classroom as the structure and staff change. These struggles can lead your child to feel insecure, grow frustrated, and return to negative behaviors. Our staff supports your child during times of struggle, reminding them of the new strengths and skills they have learned to overcome.

Our supportive therapeutic wilderness programs for troubled teens and young adults allow us to teach practical skills for positive behavior, then test these newfound skills your child has gained to help create stronger behavioral patterns.

Through expeditions and clinical expertise, Trails’ provides an environment for your child to learn to effectively express their emotions and adopt healthy behaviors. Our experienced, passionate team is there to help every step of the way.

Blend Of Wilderness & Base Camps

Students practice transitioning to new situations, settings, and staff to improve their confidence in handling all that life throws at us, whether in the wilderness or the classroom.

Decades Of Experience

Our talented team are experts in their respective disciplines and have the passion and experience to build trust with your child and help them along the path to a positive outcome.

Our Therapeutic Treatment Practices Include:

Our therapists devise individualized treatment plans with a trauma-informed, holistic approach. The therapeutic wilderness programs at Trails Carolina involve an initial assessment for better understanding of your child’s mindset upon arrival, weekly individual therapy with your child’s primary therapist to provide a personalized treatment plan, and the development and review of your child’s personal therapeutic plan with input from the entire Trails team of experts.

All of our wilderness therapy participants also engage in weekly group therapy sessions to help instill healthy behaviors and develop healthy relationships with the help and support of peers. 

Your child’s long-term success is predicated on the support, participation, and growth of the most important people in their life – family. A child that returns home to an unchanged family who hasn’t developed the skills to support their progress is far more likely to slip into well-worn, negative patterns of behavior. 

At Trails, we strive to restore and rebuild the relationship between your child and your entire family. To achieve this, we use a whole-family approach that includes: family therapy, weekly calls with a family coach, parent skills workshops, weekly calls with your child’s therapist, and more.

Trails has a Cognia (formerly known as AdvancEd (SACS)) accredited academic program, enabling students to transfer credits back home. Plus, there are proven benefits to bringing students into a more traditional classroom setting while in a therapeutic environment. Adding a personalized classroom environment helps our students achieve success and practice their new skills in a school setting.

Through our Natural Horsemanship program, students gain relational insight and awareness. Horses mirror students' emotions and relational strengths and weaknesses. If a student is going to be successful working with their horse, they will first need to be successful in their own self-regulation. Working with horses gives our students the opportunity to practice intelligent and authentic expression and gain increased self confidence.

At Trails Carolina, students get a comprehensive adventure experience in a distraction free environment. Our adventure program integrates experiential education with our therapeutic wilderness program. Through adventure programming, students overcome challenges and gain healthy coping skills that they can apply to their daily lives. 

Adventure programming also provides the opportunity to address some of the underlying causes of behavioral problems outside of traditional talk therapy sessions. 

Through activities like rock climbing and canoeing, students learn how to work through challenges with the support of our staff. Any difficult emotions that arise during these activities can be explored by the student and adventure staff in the moment, providing the opportunity to identify how the stressor is affecting them and grow from the experience.

Yoga provides both physical and mental benefits to students. Research on trauma has shown that the impact of traumatic experiences is stored throughout one’s entire body (not just the mind). Yoga invites students to release this buried tension through flowing movements and focused breathing. 

Therapeutic yoga sessions serve as a vehicle for students to stand up taller, feel comfortable in their bodies, and empower them to access tools that they have had within themselves all along. This mind-body connection provides integral support to the traditional clinical modalities used at Trails.

Mindfulness and Yoga are embedded into the daily routine of all Trails Carolina students.  Mornings begin with a guided breathing exercise, and the day closes with a yoga flow and meditation preparing them for a night of restful sleep. This routine encourages students to develop a true practice that they can take home after their time at Trails.

Students at Trails Carolina take part in a mindfulness curriculum designed to expand their capacity to manage stress in a healthy way. 

Your child will learn grounding techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, mindful movement, and meditation techniques to help students develop a deeper sense of their body. Trails students learn to observe their emotions rather than having a strong reaction and gain a deeper sense of themselves by learning to live in the moment.

Throughout their time at Trails, students are regularly encouraged to tune into their senses, pause, and strengthen their mental capacity to be still without the need for constant distractions. These mindfulness techniques are shared with both our students and parents, who can use them as valuable parenting and coping strategies.

Many troubled teens have a difficult time taking ownership of their actions. Starting to develop accountability and self-awareness is a vital part of your child confronting their past behavior and developing healthy habits for the future.

One of the first things we work on with students (and families) is to use “I feel” statements. It sounds simple, but this is an incredibly powerful tool to change the nature of communication. Leveraging simple reframes like this, and guidance from our staff, we are able to help your child understand the role they play in creating supportive relationships with their peers, family members, and authority figures.

Throughout their time at Trails, your child will move from defensive and defeated to confident and self-assured.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Family Education & Growth
A Comprehensive Wilderness Therapy Program Combined With Residential Programming, Base Camp And Accredited Academics